YORK — Hard as it might be to believe that a 3.75-inch piece of plastic could possibly be worth as much as a quarter of a million dollars, that’s what the prototype of a Star Wars action figure could fetch at Hake’s Auctions in York.
The 1979 Boba Fett J-slot rocket-firing prototype — considered to be the “Holy Grail” of Star Wars toys, according to a staffer at Hake’s Auctions — is expected to be sold for more than $250,000 in two weeks.
It’s believed that there are fewer than 30 of the J-slot rocket-firing figurines in existence. Developed by Kenner Toys, it was offered as part of a rebate promotion that prompted fans to send in proof-of-purchase forms to receive the action figure.
At the time the promotion was offered, the second film of the original Star Wars trilogy — The Empire Strikes Back — had not yet been released. The character of Boba Fett actually made his debut in the infamous 1978 made-for-TV special “A Wookie Holiday” — something Star Wars creator George Lucas would understandably prefer to forget — but it was in The Empire Strikes Back that he really stood out.
Before the type-J toy shipped, its rocket-firing backpack was deemed a choking hazard, making the toy too dangerous for children. It was never made available, though a re-vamped toy, without the hazardous firing mechanism, later hit the shelves.
But the lost type-J prototype has tantalized serious Star Wars toy collectors ever since.
Hakes sold the prototype of a Boba Fett L-slot figure with a rocket-firing backpack for about $86,000 in 2017, and another L-slot figurine for $112,926 last year. Both prices were records for the auction house at the time.
The L-slot was a predecessor of the current J-slot figure.
Bidding for the Boba Fett prototype closes on Thursday, Nov. 7.